Attempt to Cut Off Illegal Websites’ Advertising Revenue

Attempt to Cut Off Illegal Websites’ Advertising Revenue
Websites offering illegal copyrighted material could see their advertising revenue cut under a new initiative. Police have created an online database of websites “verified” as being illegal. It is hoped that firms that handle advertising will use the resource to make sure they do not serve advertising on those sites, cutting off revenue.

Top piracy sites generate millions of pounds thanks to advertising. One estimate, from the Digital Citizens Alliance – a group backed by rights holders – suggested that piracy websites worldwide generated $227m (£137m) from advertising revenue each year. Even smaller sites commanded revenues into the hundreds of thousands, the group said.

Most brands hire third parties to distribute their online advertising to hundreds of websites at once, which can sometimes lead to them unintentionally appearing against unfavourable content.

The Infringing Website List (IWL) will be an “up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites” that can be cross-referenced by those third parties, in the hope that they will pull their advertising from those sites. “If an advert from an established brand appears on an infringing website not only does it lend the site a look of legitimacy, but inadvertently the brand and advertiser are funding online crime,” said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu). “Therefore the IWL also serves as a safety tool, ensuring the reputation of advertisers and brands are not discredited through association with illegal websites.”

But Ernesto Van Der Sar, editor of Torrentfreak, a news site that covers issues around online piracy, said there could be worrying implications that arise from the IWL. “As with all blocklists there is a serious risk of overblocking,” he told the BBC. “Without proper oversight perfectly legal sites may end up losing good advertising opportunities if they are wrongfully included.”

The City of London police said any sites listed would be notifiied in advance – but it was unable to tell the BBC how many sites would be on the list at launch.

The battle against online piracy has seen content creators attempt many different strategies in order to stem the flow of illegal downloading.

In the UK, the courts have ordered internet service providers to block almost 50 different websites offering pirated content, either by direct download or through peer-to-peer sharing.

While effective in lowering the traffic of these sites, filtering is a flawed prevention method – many internet users are adept in using different technologies to circumvent the court-imposed restrictions. This latest attempt looks to hit the owners of these websites in a more painful way – by stopping advertising revenues from coming in.

The City of London said a pilot of the IWL carried out last year resulted in a 2% reduction in advertising from major household brands on the identified illegal websites. Mr Van Der Sar said the IWL may take away some advertising from these kind of websites, but argued that the effects would be minimal. “As long as there is money to be made, there will be plenty of advertising companies who are happy to work with these sites.”

Creative industries minister Ed Vaizey said: “It is essential we protect our creative industries from people ripping off their content online.  Disrupting the money unlawful websites make from advertising could make a real difference to the fight against copyright infringement.”

UK Wind Turbines – £310m Invested

£310m Invested in UK Wind Turbines
Manufacturing giant Siemens and the UK’s Associated British Ports are to invest a total of £310m in UK wind turbine factories, creating 1,000 jobs.

Siemens will put up £160m, doubling its previous plans to invest £80m in wind turbine production in the UK. The investment is being made across two locations – the Green Port project in Hull, and a second manufacturing facility in Paull in East Yorkshire.

Siemens said the UK “recognises the potential of offshore wind energy”. “We invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity,” said Michael Suess, head of Siemens’s energy sector.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey: “This is great news for Hull, it’s great news for the UK. The British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. In particular, it recognises the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production.”

Associated British Ports, which is collaborating with Siemens on the Green Port development in Hull, is investing £150m in the project.

The combined investment of £310m is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs directly – 300 more than previously announced – plus additional jobs in construction and through the supply chain.

The Green Port facility will construct, assemble and service offshore wind turbines, while the second Siemens site in Paull will be used to manufacture the 75-metre rotor blades.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the investment demonstrated the UK was “backing enterprise with better infrastructure and lower taxes.  This deal is excellent news for the people of Hull and the Humber, the UK, the wind industry, and our energy security,” he said.

Made-to-Measure Blinds. Freshen Up the Home Décor

Freshen Up the Home Décor with Made-to-Measure Blinds
Spring is the ideal time of year for removing clutter and embracing an “out with the old, in with the new” philosophy: with the weather being neither too warm nor too cold, the time has come to open up the doors and windows and let in fresh air while cleaning off the dust and getting rid of items that are past their useful life.

For many homeowners, this also means rethinking the home décor. If you feel that your home or conservatory is ready for a facelift, keep in mind that high-quality, made-to-measure blinds will do just as much as new furniture or decorations to improve the look of your home and conservatory.

You might begin by emboldening the look of the conservatory with a set of brightly coloured conservatory blinds that will look spectacular against the white trim. Pastel colours in particular provide a soft look in all seasons and allow for light to pass through without causing the room to feel too warm in the summer months. When considering your options, be sure that your final decision is a good fit for your conservatory’s existing décor.

If your conservatory has not yet been completed and you haven’t already decided on the colour or style of furnishings, then consider all of these at once so that your new conservatory blinds and furnishings will both contribute to the desired look and feel of the conservatory.

Traditionally used externally as a window covering in hot climates, plantation shutters have come into fashion as an interior window covering because of their appealing combination of looks and practicality. Plantation shutters add texture and depth to any room and set off the windows even better than standard window treatments.

They are also highly functional and improve energy efficiency by blocking drafts in winter and heat in the summer, both physically and by providing shade. In any season, they also provide privacy without blocking the view from within the home. Stained wood shutters look equally well against white or stained trim, and any natural colour for the walls will complete a traditional colour scheme. For more modern tastes, consider white plantation shutters, or shutters with a light stain, as a complement to light-coloured walls and a few well-chosen accent pieces.

Shutters may be full-length, café-style (which leave the top half of the window uncovered, allowing light to come in while the shutters are closed for privacy) or tier-on-tier, covering the upper and lower halves of the window so that they can be opened and closed individually for the desired amount of light and privacy. Shutters are also just as easy to clean as traditional blinds: one quick wipe with a cloth or brush with a feather duster and you’re done!

Wood shutters can also be measured to fit doors opening up onto the front lawn or garden, offering many of the same benefits as plantation shutters for windows. Likewise, conservatory blinds should always be made-to-measure to ensure the perfect fit for each section of the conservatory.  For a fresh, new look to the home or conservatory that will delight the family and visitors alike, custom shutters and conservatory blinds may be exactly what you need.

Consider looking for a company like The Beautiful Blind Company who specialise in conservatory roof blinds, conservatory blinds, plantation shutters and all other types of made to measure blinds.  They can supply and fit all types of blinds for your home and office, with each blind made to your exact requirements. They be contacted on 01642 688049 or visit their website; – for further information.

Business:             The Beautiful Blind Company


Want to Look Your Best When It Counts: Call a Mobile Makeup Artist

Look Your Best When It Counts: Call a Mobile Makeup Artist
Prom night, wedding, photo shoot. Perhaps you’ve participated in all three in your life? Even if you haven’t, it goes without saying that on certain rare occasions a woman has to look her very best and that nothing less than her out-of-this-world best will do. These are the occasions which call for hiring a professional makeup artist and leaving absolutely nothing to chance.

The reasons for hiring a makeup artist might surprise you, but they don’t surprise the professional makeup artist in the least. How practised are you at putting on makeup, and what do you typically pay for the cosmetics that you do use? Have you paid attention to how long your eye shadow lasts during the day before it starts to cake up in the creases of your eyelids and hardly any is left where you originally applied it?

Even for those who know to “prime” the eyelids by applying foundation and powder first, the technique is not failsafe if the colours themselves are not of the highest quality. Likewise, dragging the crease colour up and out toward the eyebrows à la Black Swan only works for certain eye shapes; if yours is not one of them and you use this application technique because you like how it looked in a photograph from a magazine or makeup advert, then you might be drawing attention to yourself, but not necessarily in the way you would like.

Knowing which colours suit you best is another question. The “rule” about blue eye shadow being wrong for everybody aside, far too many women get comfortable with colour combinations in adolescence and early adulthood that are entirely wrong for them and continue wearing the wrong makeup colours well into adulthood. In some cases, poorly hydrated skin plays a role, since dry skin will absorb foundation and give the face a heavily made-up look.

For many women, choosing the right foundation colour comes down to a guessing game in which the unfortunate woman simply guessed wrong or had a false impression about her own skin’s natural hue and chose a colour based on that impression. If the veins in your hands or forearms appear to be more bluish-green than simply blue, don’t go for the ivory foundation and powder!

These and endless other factors come into play for the woman needing to look her best for a wedding or other special occasion which will likely be memorialized in photographs.

When the occasion warrants it, invest in the services of a mobile makeup artist who can come to you and provide a personalised service that will take the occasion – including what you will be wearing – as well as your skin colour and type into account.

A skilled makeup artist in Newcastle, such as Jessica Brent, will work with you at a very reasonable rate to make you resplendent on your special day. Services for the right makeup artist in the North East area will include an initial consultation, including bridesmaids and mother of the bride as requested, and use of only the highest-quality products on the market. For your very best look on the most important days of your life, let Jessica Brent put her years of experience in makeup artistry to work for you. For more information, call today on 07931 784894 or visit the Jessica Brent website for further information.

Business:             Jessica Brent Make Up


Searching for Student Accommodation in Newcastle upon Tyne

Searching for Student Accommodation in Newcastle upon Tyne
The flats and other properties available for rent in Jesmond and the Newcastle region for students  are known for their very competitively price tags compared with the much of the UK. However, the benefits of living in the Newcastle with so much to see and do on your doorstep, as well as many prestigious job opportunities once you have completed your studies. So it’s no wonder so many people, including students attending the local universities, want to rent a property in Jesmond or Newcastle.

Andrew Lawson Estate Agents can offer access to a diverse range of all types of property in Jesmond and Newcastle for sale or rent. They a very well established independent estate agency located in the highly desirable Jesmond area of Newcastle, who provide a personal and professional service of the highest quality. As well as student rentals, they also operate a commercial sales and letting’s department that incorporates land acquisition and development appraisals.

To search for your ideal property, simply visit our website and we’ll show you a list of property and apartments for sale or to rent throughout Jesmond and the North East.

Newcastle and the surrounding areas boast a number of the UK’s leading universities and colleges. There are many options when choosing a flat to rent let in the North East, and the right choice will depend on your living situation and your budget. There are plenty of apartments, one-bedroom flats and two-bedroom flats to rent, many of them perfect for students.

The best way to start looking for one of these apartments to rent in Jesmond and Newcastle is to visit our comprehensive website or contact us on (0191) 212 0066 and view the large range of properties on view. For those who are seeking to share a flat to rent in Jesmond and Newcastle, or rent a room, we can recommend a number of flat sharing sites.

Choosing flats to rent in Newcastle upon Tyne can be tricky, especially for those new to the area, so if you would like any help or guidance on the area then give us a call and we will be happy to help you. Newcastle has a UK wide reputation as a party city but it is much more than that. Those wanting to experience the excitement of the Quayside or city life should choose a central location for a property, dare we say – Jesmond being an ideal situation. With great accommodation and fabulous shopping, this will place you right in the centre of all that Newcastle has to offer!

Andrew Lawson Estate Agents are one of the leading estate agencies operating in the Newcastle areas. All members of staff have a wealth of experience and a comprehensive knowledge of the Newcastle upon Tyne and North East property market. We can guarantee that, from instruction to legal completion, your transaction will be handled with professionalism, confidentiality and efficiency by senior members of the firm. Call us now on (0191) 212 0066 or visit our Newcastle property website for further information.

Business:             Andrew Lawson Estate Agents


Netflix Hits out at ISP Traffic Fees

Netflix Boss Reed Hastings Hits out at ISP Traffic Fees
The head of video streaming service Netflix has hit out at internet service providers (ISPs) for demanding a fee to maintain video streaming quality. The company recently “reluctantly” made a deal with US ISP Comcast to make sure its videos were streamed faster and more smoothly.

ISPs argue that data heavy services should share the cost of providing capacity on the networks. But campaigners argue that this approach stifles innovation.

Influential figures, including the likes of web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, call for what has been termed “net neutrality” – the principle that all data sent and received using the internet should be treated equally.

Some ISPs said that, for services that put a strain on their infrastructure, content providers should be charged.

Net neutrality supporters say that without rules in place, small or start-up organisations will find it harder to break into the market if they cannot afford to pay for priority service.

This was a point of view supported strongly by Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive. “Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can, they effectively control access to millions of consumers and are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own customers to press Netflix and others to pay,” he wrote in a blog post.

Amid concerns that it would pave the way for other ISPs to demand the same, he defended his company’s decision to strike a deal with Comcast.

“Netflix believes strong net neutrality is critical, but in the near term we will, in cases, pay the toll to the powerful ISPs to protect our consumer experience.” But he added: “We will continue to fight for the internet the world needs and deserves.”

As well as the Comcast deal, Netflix is also in talks with another major US provider, Verizon. Verizon – backed by several other ISPs – recently won a court appeal against new rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that aimed to ensure net neutrality in the US.

The company said: “The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the internet.”

The FCC said it would still press for a new law, to “ensure that these networks on which the internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expressions”.

For the Person Who Has “Everything”: Gifts for the Home and Garden

For the Person Who Has “Everything”:  Gifts for the Home and Garden
So you have a relative whose birthday is coming up, who just bought a home or will soon be celebrating some other personal or professional milestone. Fabulous – but what to buy to mark the occasion?

If you have ever found yourself wondering what on Earth you could possibly buy for the person who seems to have everything, then wonder no more: when it comes to buying gifts for family and friends on virtually any occasion, thoughtful gift ideas for the home and garden are the way to go. Even if your gift recipients already seem to have everything, the fact remains that personal belongings periodically need to be replaced, and you can come to their rescue with things they’ve never thought of or with attractive replacements for any home or garden essentials that have seen their day.

In general, gift ideas for the home add pleasant touches in addition to being useful. Someone who enjoys cooking and spending time in the kitchen – or even someone who is less skilled but eager to learn – will appreciate useful kitchen gifts such as an automatic vegetable chopper, hand mixer for cakes and omelettes or a brand-new dessert cookbook. In other areas of the home, items such as quilted arm covers for upholstered chairs, attractive bedspreads and luxury bath towels all serve an obvious purpose while brightening up the rooms where they are on display.

Similar to home gifts, gift ideas for the garden add visual appeal and often make work easier for the home gardener. Anyone who has ever suffered from knee pain knows how much easier it is to work with heavy pots on the ground, or to dig planting spaces for new flowers in the ground, with the aid of a garden kneeler. Most home gardeners are also happy to receive new leather gardening gloves at any time, since regular use can wear them out fairly quickly. And what person who loves spending time outdoors doesn’t also want to attract more birds to the garden with a variety of bird feeders? Suet cakes in particular are a great way to bring more birds to the garden on chilly spring mornings.

The Home and Gift Shop has been selling fine housewares for the home and garden across the United Kingdom for over 15 years. All our products can be shipped anywhere in the UK and come with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Try us today and see how why so many of our customers have come back to us over the years!

To learn more about how our wide selection of gifts for the home and garden are perfect for any gift-giving occasion, visit our website at

Business:             The Home and Gift Shop


Boost Your Cars MPG and Lower the Costs of Driving

Boost Your Cars MPG & Lower the Costs of Driving
Running a car or other vehicle isn’t cheap and paying for fuel is a major cost, so for most of us getting the best fuel economy we can is essential. There are some simple steps you can take to help reduce these costs and the ‘Which magazine’ recently offered the following suggestions.

A Smooth Drive
The smoother you are when using the accelerator and braking system the better. Gradually build up your speed using the highest sensible gear possible, this will help ensure your engine is using the lowest revs and preserving fuel as a result. The Energy Saving Trust suggests shifting up a gear at around 2,000 RPM for a diesel and 2,500 RPM for a petrol vehicle.

Speed versus Efficiency
The speed you drive also has a significant impact on fuel consumption. The most efficient cruising speed being typically 55MPH. Driving quicker is proven to cause you to use more fuel! Obvious but true. Studies show travelling at 60MPH is 3% less efficient than 55MPH and driving at 70MPH is 17% less efficient.

Plan Ahead
Try to read the traffic flow and conditions ahead top help maintain a steady speed. Keeping your distance from the vehicle in front is not only safe – but it also allows you react better to changes in speed, meaning you won’t need to brake harshly.

Eco Modes
Many modern cars feature adaptive driving modes, which have different characteristics for the throttle response and gear changes. This tends to include an ‘Eco Mode’ which, when used can reduce fuel consumption by around 8% according to the Driving Standards Agency.  Only use this mode of you feel comfortable though as many drivers find that the throttle response appears laboured.

Air Conditioning
Turn off the air conditioning. Driving with the air conditioning on will decrease MPG by around 5% according to the European Commission.

Regular servicing
A clogged air filter can sap performance. Studies do show this to be significant, in modern cars it may cause you to work the engine harder. Using old engine oil or unsuitable oil can also impact upon your vehicles engine, making it less efficient and thereby decreasing fuel economy by around 2% according to Service your car regularly and help keep it reliable, safe and as economical as possible.

Unnecessary Weight
Additional weight or drag will mean your car is less efficient. For example driving with an unused roof rack can reduce fuel economy by as much as 10% due to the extra wind resistance according to the European Commission.  It also makes sense to empty the boot of any items too.

Tyre Pressure
Keeping your car tyres at the correct tyre pressure is easy – you’ll find details in your car owner’s manual or displayed (often) on the driver’s door. Under inflated tyres can decrease fuel economy by as much as 4% according to the International Energy Agency. There are many companies selling tyres around the UK who will provide a free tyre check.

We at Tams Tyres of Gateshead, located in the North East of the UK can offer you a tyre check – including tyre pressures and if required, fully fitted, balanced and inflated correctly for a great price. Not only can we help you enjoy better fuel consumption but we can also help with better road holding and safety. Call us now on (0191) 4604809 or visit the Tams Tyres website for further information.

Business:             Tams Tyres



Broadband speed should be guaranteed, says Which?

Broadband speed should be guaranteed, says Which?
Broadband companies should give customers the speed and service that they pay for, the consumer group Which? has said.

A survey carried out on its behalf claimed that 45% of customers suffer slow download speeds. Over half of those customers said they experienced slow speeds frequently or all the time.

Ofcom said measures were already in place for customers suffering with speed-related broadband problems. “The internet is an essential part of modern life, yet millions of us are getting frustratingly slow speeds and having to wait days to get reconnected when things go wrong,” said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd. “It’s less superfast broadband, more super-slow service from companies who are expecting people to pay for speeds they may never get.”

Ofcom already has a voluntary code of practice on broadband speeds in place that it says ensures customers are protected.

Providers who have signed up to it must give customers a written estimate of their broadband speed at the start of a contract and must allow them to leave a contract without penalty if they receive speeds significantly below the estimate.

“Ensuring consumers receive a high quality of service from their broadband provider and are fairly treated are high priorities,” said an Ofcom spokeswoman.

A mystery shopping exercise carried out by Ofcom revealed that the code was working effectively, she said. However, there were areas where it could be improved and a revised code of practice would be published in the coming months.

Which? said in practice it supported the code but it was voluntary, not compulsory and providers needed to go further. Rather than providing an estimated speed range that a customer could expect to receive, providers should pinpoint a more accurate speed that customers can expect at their home address and provide this in writing. This written confirmation should be accompanied by information explaining what consumers can do at different speeds – what they could download and how long it would take – and how to test their speed, Which? said.

The customers who took part in the survey were asked if they had experienced buffering or slow downloads when using their broadband connection. They were not asked if they had measured their own connection speed, which can be done using speed checking websites. Nor were they asked in what circumstances the slow speeds were experienced – for example, whether several people were sharing the connection to download large files or whether a wired or wireless internet connection was being used.

According to the survey of 2,000 people, a quarter of those who had reported a loss in service said they had had to wait two days to get it fixed, with one in 10 waiting a week or more. Twenty per cent said they had contacted their internet service provider at least three times when trying to resolve a problem with their broadband connection.

Which? is calling for broadband companies to fix connections as quickly as possible and refund customers for any loss of service. “Broadband providers need to give customers the right information and take responsibility for resolving problems,” said Mr Lloyd.

Microsoft Admits Reading Hotmail Inbox of Blogger

Microsoft Admits Reading Hotmail Inbox of Blogger
Microsoft is caught up in a privacy storm after it admitted it read the Hotmail inbox of a blogger while pursuing a software leak investigation.

On Thursday, the firm acknowledged it read the anonymous blogger’s emails in order to identify an employee it suspected of leaking information. Microsoft owns Hotmail, a free email service now called John Frank, deputy general counsel for Microsoft, said it took “extraordinary actions in this case”.

While the search was technically legal, he added Microsoft would consult outside counsel in the future.

Microsoft’s actions came to light this week as part of a legal case by US prosecutors against an ex-Microsoft employee, Alex Kibalko, who was a Russian native based in the company’s Lebanon office.

In 2012, Microsoft had been alerted to the fact that the blogger, whose identity was kept anonymous in the court papers, had been given some stolen lines of code from the not-yet-released Windows 8 operating system. The blogger then posted screenshots of the unreleased Windows operating system to his blog.

To figure out the source of the leak, Microsoft began an investigation and, as part of that search, looked into the blogger’s accounts to find out the name of the employee. The search was legal because it fell within Microsoft’s terms of service which state that the company can access information in accounts that are stored on its “Communication Services”, which includes email, chat areas, forums, and other communication facilities.

The terms of service add: “Microsoft reserves the right to review materials posted to the Communication Services and to remove any materials in its sole discretion.”

Nonetheless, revelations of the search have led to renewed focus on the privacy violations of technology firms. It has also left Microsoft in a difficult position, as the firm has often criticised rival Google for its automatic scanning of users’ emails in order to serve them with advertising.